10 Best Scenic Drives In Virginia – Best Day Trips In Virginia + Scenic Stopovers

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In this article, read these captivating scenic drives in Virginia for an unforgettable journey through diverse landscapes, historic landmarks, and stunning natural beauty. With an array of options, from the Blue Ridge Parkway to the historic Colonial Parkway, these routes offer an adventure waiting to be explored, making them the perfect choice for memorable day trips and some of the best driving roads in Virginia.

ALSO READ: 6 Best Scenic Drives In North Carolina With Scenic Stopovers & Hotels

Scenic drives in Virginia Road trips in Virginia

Scenic Drives In Virginia – Road Trips In Virginia

Numerous scenic drives in Virginia(best driving roads in Virginia) showcase the state’s beauty and history. Here are a few picturesque routes:

ALSO READ: 8 Best Scenic Drives In Washington State

Skyline Drive

Total Distance: Approximately 105 miles

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  • Starting Point: Front Royal, Virginia
  • Ending Point: Waynesboro, Virginia

Skyline Drive stands out as one of the best driving roads in Virginia, offering a captivating 105-mile stretch through Shenandoah National Park, where travelers can experience unparalleled panoramic views, serene natural landscapes, and abundant wildlife, making it an outstanding scenic drive in Virginia that immerses visitors in the splendor of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Scenic Stopovers:

  • Shenandoah National Park: Take breathtaking views, hike trails, and spot wildlife.
  • Skyland Resort: Great for a stop, offering dining and stunning panoramic views.
  • Big Meadows: A perfect place for a picnic, birdwatching, and wildflower displays.
  • Front Royal Entrance: Start your journey at the northern entrance, offering beautiful views and the Dickey Ridge Visitor Center with exhibits about the park’s flora and fauna.
  • Thornton Gap: Stop here for panoramic views and access to the Appalachian Trail, with numerous hiking opportunities.
  • Marys Rock Tunnel: Stop for a short hike to Marys Rock Summit for stunning 360-degree views of the Shenandoah Valley.
  • Dark Hollow Falls: Take this trail, which leads to a beautiful waterfall, perfect for a short hike and nature photography.
  • Loft Mountain: Scenic views, a campground, and opportunities for stargazing on clear nights.

Things to Do:

  • Hiking: Numerous trails vary in difficulty.
  • Wildlife Viewing: Watch for deer, black bears, and various bird species.
  • Photography: Capture the stunning vistas and foliage, especially during the fall.
  • Hiking Trails: Explore trails ranging from easy walks to more challenging hikes, such as the famous Stony Man or Dark Hollow Falls trails.
  • Visitor Centers: Visit the Dickey Ridge Visitor Center or Harry F. Byrd Sr. Visitor Center for information, exhibits, and educational programs about the park.

Blue Ridge Parkway

Total Distance: Approximately 217 miles (through Virginia)

READ➡️8 Best Hikes In Blue Ridge Parkway With Campgrounds

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  • Starting Point: Afton, Virginia
  • Ending Point: Galax, Virginia

The Blue Ridge Parkway stands out as one of the best driving roads in Virginia, offering an unparalleled 217-mile stretch through the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, boasting stunning vistas, serene landscapes, and access to numerous overlooks, making it an exceptionally scenic drive that immerses travelers in the region’s natural beauty and diverse ecosystems.

Scenic Stopovers:

  • Humpback Rocks: This is the most popular spot for hiking and a historical interpretive farm during a scenic drive in Virginia.
  • Mabry Mill: Stop for a Historic water-powered gristmill with demonstrations (milepost 176).
  • Peaks of Otter: Stop at a serene mountain retreat with hiking trails and a lake.
  • Ravens Roost Overlook: This overlook during a scenic drive in Virginia is a striking viewpoint with exceptional views of the Shenandoah Valley and George Washington National Forest.
  • Rockfish Valley Overlook: Enjoy the stunning views of the Rockfish Valley and the surrounding mountains.
  • Cumberland Knob: This spot is the first recreation area on the Blue Ridge Parkway, featuring a picnic area and trails.

Things to Do:

  • Picnicking: Several spots along the parkway provide picnic areas.
  • Cultural Sites: Experience the cultural heritage and historical sites.
  • Motorcycling/Cycling: Famous among motorcyclists and cyclists for its winding roads.

Colonial Parkway

Total Distance: Approximately 23 miles

  • Starting Point: Yorktown, Virginia
  • Ending Point: Jamestown, Virginia

Colonial Parkway offers a unique and picturesque drive, connecting three historic areas—Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Yorktown—making it one of the best driving roads in Virginia, where travelers can experience a journey through significant historical sites, colonial architecture, and serene natural landscapes while immersing themselves in the rich heritage of America’s early days.

Williamsburg Virginia scenic drives - Best driving roads in Virginia

Scenic Stopovers:

  • Colonial National Historical Park: Offers multiple historical sites and panoramic views.
  • Williamsburg: Explore the historic city and its colonial architecture.
  • Jamestown Settlement: It is historical site dedicated to America’s first permanent English settlement.
  • Green Spring Gardens: A historic garden from the 18th century, perfect for a stroll and admiring the landscapes.
  • Yorktown Battlefield: Explore this historic site where British General Cornwallis surrendered to George Washington, marking the end of the American Revolutionary War.
  • York River State Park: Offers outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, and kayaking along the York River.
  • Shirley Plantation: This plantation is one of the oldest plantations in Virginia, providing tours of the estate and gardens.

These scenic stopovers along the Colonial Parkway offer visitors a chance to delve into America’s colonial history, enjoy picturesque landscapes, and experience the unique charm of the region.

Things to Do:

  • Historical Tours: Visit the historical sites and immerse yourself in early American history.
  • Outdoor Activities: Walking trails, gardens, and reenactments.
  • Museums and Interpretive Centers: Learn about the colonial past of the region.

George Washington Memorial Parkway

Total Distance: Approximately 25 miles

  • Starting Point: Mount Vernon, Virginia
  • Ending Point: Great Falls Park, Virginia

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The George Washington Memorial Parkway stands out as one of the best driving roads in Virginia, providing a picturesque route flanking the Potomac River with splendid views of the river, historic landmarks, and opportunities to explore George Washington’s estate, Mount Vernon, offering a blend of scenic beauty and historical significance for an enriching and pleasant drive in Virginia.

Scenic Stopovers:

  • Mount Vernon: George Washington’s historic estate, offering tours of the mansion, gardens, and museum.
  • Theodore Roosevelt Island: It offers trails and a memorial to the president.
  • Fort Hunt Park: It features historical fortifications and lovely riverfront views, great for picnics and leisurely walks.
  • Jones Point Park: Offers views of the Potomac River and the option to walk along the riverbank or enjoy the park’s recreational facilities.
  • Great Falls Park: Gorgeous views of the Potomac River and waterfalls.
  • Scott’s Run Nature Preserve: This stop is famous for scenic trails for hiking, birdwatching, and opportunities to explore the woodland and streams.
  • Old Town Alexandria: Not directly on the parkway but nearby, this historic district is known for its colonial architecture, cobblestone streets, and waterfront views.
  • Belle Haven Park: Offers beautiful riverfront views, walking and biking trails, and a marina.

These scenic stopovers along the George Washington Memorial Parkway provide a mix of historical significance, natural beauty, and recreational activities for visitors to enjoy while traveling along this picturesque route.

Things to Do:

  • Historic Tours: Explore Mount Vernon and learn about President Washington’s life.
  • Nature Hikes: Enjoy the trails and beautiful riverfront views.
  • Picnicking: Great Falls Park provides excellent spots for picnics.

There are many beautiful scenic drives in Virginia, each with its unique attractions and stunning landscapes. Read more about the Best driving roads in Virginia or spectacular Virginia scenic drives.

Shenandoah Valley Tour

Total Distance: Approximately 200 miles

  • Starting Point: Winchester, Virginia
  • Ending Point: Roanoke, Virginia

scenic drives in Virginia - best driving roads in Virginia

The Shenandoah Valley Tour presents one of the most captivating and picturesque drives in Virginia, encompassing approximately 200 miles of stunning landscapes, historic sites, and charming towns, providing an immersive experience through the rolling hills, quaint villages, and panoramic vistas that define the Shenandoah Valley’s natural beauty and rich cultural heritage.

Scenic Stopovers:

  • Front Royal is known as the “Canoe Capital of Virginia,” it’s an entry point to Shenandoah National Park and offers outdoor recreational opportunities.
  • Luray Caverns: Underground caves with impressive formations.
  • Shenandoah National Park – Thornton Gap Entrance: Offers access to Skyline Drive, with stunning views and hiking opportunities.
  • Natural Bridge State Park: It is a towering natural bridge and beautiful hiking trails.
  • Virginia Safari Park: Drive through this safari to experience various animals.
  • Virginia Safari Park: Take a drive-through in Safari Park to encounter various wildlife species.
  • Staunton: Home to the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum and the Frontier Culture Museum, displaying the Valley’s heritage.
  • Harrisonburg: Enjoy downtown charm, visit the Explore More Discovery Museum, or stroll in the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum.
  • Shenandoah Valley Battlefields: Locations such as New Market Battlefield State Historical Park and the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley offer insights into the area’s historical importance.
  • Winchester: This historic town offers sites like the Old Town Winchester district, the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, and the Stonewall Jackson’s Headquarters Museum.

Things to Do:

    • Cave Exploration: Visit Luray Caverns for an underground adventure.
    • Nature Hikes: Enjoy hiking trails at Natural Bridge State Park.
    • Animal Encounters: Interact with animals at Virginia Safari Park.

Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel

Total Distance: Approximately 23 miles (across the Bay)

  • Starting Point: Virginia Beach, Virginia
  • Ending Point: Cape Charles, Virginia

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel offers a unique and picturesque experience, spanning approximately 23 miles across the Bay, providing stunning panoramic views and an engineering marvel that combines natural beauty with the thrill of an extraordinary drive, making it one of the best scenic routes in Virginia that showcases both coastal landscapes and impressive infrastructure.

Chesapeake Bay Virginia scenic drives

Scenic Stopovers:

  • Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel Overlooks: Take spectacular views of the Bay and marine life.
  • Kiptopeke State Park: Offers a beach, fishing, and birdwatching opportunities.
  • Cape Charles / Eastern Shore Side: On the Eastern Shore end, near Cape Charles, there are a few facilities and viewpoints where drivers can take a break, enjoy the coastal atmosphere, and, in some cases, find small local shops or restaurants to visit.

Please note that due to safety regulations and the continuous nature of the bridge tunnel, there are fewer traditional stopovers than you might find on other scenic routes. Nonetheless, the viewpoints along the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel provide remarkable vistas of the Bay and the surrounding landscapes for travelers to pause and appreciate the unique beauty of the area.

Things to Do:

  • Fishing and Beach Activities: Kiptopeke State Park is perfect for beach fun and fishing.
  • Birdwatching: The park is a prime spot for observing migratory birds.
  • Enjoying the Views: Scenic pull-offs on the Bridge Tunnel offer panoramic vistas.

James River Plantations Scenic Byway

Total Distance: Approximately 80 miles

  • Starting Point: Charles City, Virginia
  • Ending Point: Richmond, Virginia

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The James River Plantations Scenic Byway offers a historical and visually captivating drive, winding through approximately 80 miles of stunning landscapes and iconic plantations, providing an immersive journey into Virginia’s colonial past and the region’s picturesque beauty, making it one of the best driving roads in Virginia for those seeking historical richness and scenic vistas along the James River.

Scenic Stopovers:

  • Shirley Plantation: It is one of the oldest plantations in Virginia, offering tours.
  • Berkeley Plantation: This historic plantation with beautiful gardens and history.
  • Westover Plantation: An elegant and well-preserved plantation house with a remarkable view of the James River.
  • Sherwood Forest Plantation: The former home of President John Tyler, featuring the longest frame house in America.
  • Charles City County Courthouse: Built in 1730, this historic courthouse is an architectural gem.
  • Four Rivers Cultural Center and R. Garland Dodd Park at Point of Rocks: Offers exhibits on Native American culture and a park with trails and beautiful river views.
  • James River National Wildlife Refuge: A serene spot for birdwatching, wildlife observation, and peaceful walks along the river.
  • Virginia Capital Trail: Scenic multi-use trail connecting Richmond to Jamestown.

Things to Do:

  • Plantation Tours: Learn about the history of the region through guided tours.
  • Cycling/Walking: Enjoy the Virginia Capital Trail for outdoor activities.
  • Garden Strolls: Explore the beautiful gardens and grounds of the plantations.

The Crooked Road

Total Distance: Approximately 330 miles

  • Starting Point: Rocky Mount, Virginia
  • Ending Point: Breaks Interstate Park, Virginia

Mabry Mill - Virginia scenic drives - day trips in Virginia

The Crooked Road offers a culturally rich and musically vibrant drive, spanning approximately 330 miles through southwest Virginia’s picturesque landscapes, serving as one of the best driving routes in the state, celebrated for its deep-rooted musical heritage, local artisan crafts, and spectacular views, providing a unique and immersive experience for music enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

Scenic Stopovers:

  • Birthplace of Country Music Museum: Learn about the country music history in Bristol.
  • Heartwood Artisan Center: Showcases local crafts and artisan works.
  • Breaks Interstate Park: The “Grand Canyon of the South.”
  • The Carter Family Fold: A music venue and museum dedicated to the iconic Carter Family, known for their influence on country music.
  • Mabry Mill: A historic site on the Blue Ridge Parkway, offering a glimpse into the region’s past with a picturesque mill and surrounding landscapes.

Things to Do:

  • Music Heritage: Immerse yourself in the history of country music.
  • Artisan Crafts: Explore and support local artisans at Heartwood.
  • Scenic Hikes: Enjoy the breathtaking views and trails at Breaks Interstate Park.

These scenic drives in Virginia encompass diverse landscapes, historical sites, and recreational opportunities, enriching the exploration of Virginia’s cultural and natural heritage.

I hope you loved reading about stunning road trips in Virginia, some of which are the Best driving roads in Virginia. Some trips are very small and, therefore, are perfect for Day trips in Virginia. Save these Virginia scenic drives. 

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